June 1, 2017

Read Time

This article by John Newsom originally appeared on Greensboro News & Record

Do you have regrets? Sure you do. We all do. That’s human nature.

So it’s no surprise that college graduates have regrets about, well, college.

From Inside Higher Ed:

A majority of Americans who attended college say they received a quality education. But half would change at least one of these three decisions if they could do it all over again: the type of degree they pursued or their choice of major or institution.

The biggest single driver of regret, according to a new surveydone by Gallup and the former USA Funds (now Strada Education Network), involves the choice of a major. Some 40 percent of people with bachelor’s degrees say if they had to do it all over again they’d pick a different major. The regret rate was still high among people who had associate’s degrees (more than a third) and advanced degrees (about a quarter).

Looking at it by income, regret about a choice of major was highest among low-wage workers (44 percent) and lowest among highly paid people (23 percent in the $200K-to-$250K range).

Regret rates were generally low for older graduates (people who got their degrees after age 30 and therefore probably had a good idea of what they wanted out of college) and STEM graduates (many of whom get paid well).

The regret over majors is interesting because it has so many implications. Do students pick majors for bad reasons? Do universities give poor guidance about choosing a major? Do schools not give students a clear picture of what life after graduation might look like if they pick a certain major? Is the choice of a major and what comes after even a college’s responsibility?

The survey doesn’t say, and anything I’d type here would be mere speculation and something I’d probably … wait for it … regret.

You can download the survey here. (You won’t regret it! … OK, I’ll stop now.) It’s supposed to be the first published report from an ongoing three-year survey of current, past and prospective college students about their higher ed experiences.

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Have something to say? Email me at john.newsom@greensboro.com.